The partnership aims at developing a forwarder with rubber tracks that can protect the forests and soils while improving productivity and access to weak forest grounds. Consortium members were especially looking to set more stringent thresholds for damages, to adopt improved operations practices and to better regulate ruts’ creation and treatment.
Prinoth’s Panther undercarriages which have a very low ground pressure, as low as 4 psi (pound per square inch) or 281 g/cm2 provided the best solution to the consortium. The Panther undercarriage has a unique undercarriage system equipped with rubber tracks and an exclusive high travel large wheel/tandem that were developed to work together to provide the best off-road capabilities with minimal impact on the environment. This distinctive feature will help reach one of the project’s specific objectives to significantly diminish wheel rutting and soil disturbance compared to a regular wheeled-forwarder.
Project member Tommy Blom said: “We have tried other products from other companies before hearing about Prinoth’s Panther but none could provide the low ground pressure or the off-road capacities that Prinoth can.”
The project will comprise of Panther undercarriages assembled into a PONSSE timber forwarder. “We are quite confident that the payload capabilities in extreme off-road conditions that our undercarriage system can provide is the solution that this consortium has been looking for,” commented Alessandro Ferrari, VP of Sales for the Tracked Utility Vehicles Business unit at Prinoth. The Panther undercarriages will also provide speed and as such, increased productivity for businesses. More specifically, this forwarder will allow for exceeding machine utilization rates for contractors which will, in turn, translate into a more constant wood supply not dependent of weather conditions.
For Prinoth, as a manufacturer, this project means that the undercarriage expertise developed over the years will transpose to a very demanding industry like forestry. The company is always eager to develop new markets for its products. “Having such a versatile product, we know we can meet any customers’ needs. This new partnership with PONSSE and the consortium is really exciting for us and we look forward to seeing the tests’ results,” said Alessandro Ferrari, Vice-president of Sales for Tracked Utility Vehicles at Prinoth.